In November 2001, the Legislative Council of the HKSAR called
for a comprehensive review of the community's legal needs and how
those needs were being met. The Solicitor General chairs a consultative
committee which has been set up in 2003 to oversee a Hong Kong research
project. The committee comprises representatives from the legal
services sector and other professional, academic and community bodies
interested in promoting access to justice. A three-year consultancy
study to carry out the research will commence in early 2004.
THE legal system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)
is based on the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. Under
the principle of 'one country, two systems', the HKSAR's legal system
differs from that of the Mainland, and is based on the common law.
The constitutional framework for the legal system
is provided at the international level by the Sino-British Joint Declaration,
which was signed in December 1984. It is provided at the domestic level
by the Basic Law — a law enacted by the National People's Congress
(NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) under Article 31 of the
Chinese Constitution. Both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law guarantee
the continuance of the legal system that was in place before China resumed
the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.